Tenali Ramakrishna (Ramalinga Kavi) Stories in Telugu and English - Part 2









Mahabharat and Delhi Sultan’s wish
Tenali Ramalinga Stories ruled parts of the sub-continent with Delhi as their capital for over two centuries. Few of the Mohammedan rulers maintained patience towards Hindu rituals and maintained communal harmony encouraging Hindu scholars and prophets.

Delhi was in Adil Shah’s rule concurrently while Sri Krishna Deva Rayalu was ruling Vijaya Nagar. A war broke out between the two kingdoms for supremacy over one another. At one stage, both the rulers felt there was a need to establish peace in the region. Adil Shah invited Rayalu to Delhi for finalizing the peace treaty.

Hoping to utilize the opportunity to establish a cordial relation between the two empires, Rayalu headed for Delhi with a big team comprising of poets, dancers, scholars and others. At Delhi, Adil Shah gave red carpet welcome to Rayalu. During the pleasant rounds of discussions, Adil Shah urged the scholars and poets from the Rayalu band to recite some sequences from the epic Mahabharat.

The visitors recited several sequences to please the Delhi Sultan. It was then that trouble shot up for the Vijaya Nagar ruler. Adil Shah expressed his wish and requested Rayalu to make his men rewrite the Mahabharat portraying him and his friends as Pandavas and his rivals as Kauravas. The total visiting team was shocked to hear the Sultan. They somehow managed to close the day’s meeting immediately.

Rayalu was worried about the development. He called for an emergency meeting with the learned persons of his team. In the meeting, he sought suggestions from them to avert the problem. Everyone started scratching their heads to find an amicable solution. None could come out with any concrete proposal. After watching all this, suddenly Ramalinga raised and put his proposal before Rayalu.

He said, “My Lord! I think there is not much for you or us to get so much worried and burdened about the Delhi Sultan’s wish about Mahabharat. You please leave the problem onto my shoulders and have a relaxed sleep. I will solve the problem without any problem.” The King Rayalu had his own doubts about the safety of the kingdom and its people.
“Ramalinga…” Rayalu said, “…I am aware that you are a genius. However, it is not a common situation. Dealing with the Delhi Sultan is not an easy job. It is similar to fete on the edge of a sword. You should be very careful!” He was worried that if the problem was not dealt properly, there was a chance that Delhi Sultan might declare a war on Vijaya Nagar.

Ramalinga was stiff to his argument and assured everyone to leave the matter to him. The big heads of the meeting could not comprehend how Ramalinga was confident that he could solve this ‘so easily!’ Anyway, they told each other, as we could not come out with any proposal for the solution, let him handle this. The meeting finally nominated Ramalinga to take care of the situation.

Next morning, the court was packed with both the rulers and their henchmen. Adil Shah recalled his wish about re-composing of the Mahabharat. Ramalinga rose from his seat and saluted the Sultan. “Huzoor! All of our poets are into the job assigned by your majesty’s wish. However, every one of us is stuck at one specific issue. It is not proper for us to discuss the subject in the court. If you can kindly permit me, I wish to present the poking issue before you in private.”

Adil Shah thought that there should really be some problem and consented for the one-on-one meeting with Ramalinga in a separate room. Ramalinga folding hands and presenting all respects to the Sultan in his words started, “Your Highness! You are the king of kings! It was our pleasure to know about your inclination about our epics like Mahabharat. The poets and scholars started re-composing the whole epic, in accordance to your majesty’s wish. You are being portrayed as Dharmaraja, eldest of Pandavas and your friends as Bheema, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva.”

Ramalinga paused a second and continued, “This is where we had to scratch our brains…” However he was not forth coming with the problem. Adil Shah waited and when it was clear that he has to get it out of Ramalinga he ordered, “What is the problem? Tell me clearly and quickly."

“You are aware Huzoor! That Pandavas are five. All the five were married to Draupadi and were sharing her equally…” Ramalinga stressed, “We are unable to portray your image as Dharmaraja in this regard, thinking about the prestige of the King of Kings….”
Long before Ramalinga could complete, Adil Shah hastened to say, “Stop this nonsense now. I cannot take this anymore. Stop rewriting Mahabharat immediately. I can never accept this.”

Ramalinga tried to say… “Huzoor! We started to work as per your wish…now, how can we turn away from the word given to you by us…we…” “Look Poet!” Adil Shah raised his voice, “you should drop the Mahabharat topic as of now if you wish the friendship and co-operation between the two kingdoms to last long. Is that clear” and walked off the room.

Ramalinga bubbling with joy returned to his King Rayalu and his bandwagon of delegation and explained the whole sequence. Everyone including Rayalu appreciated the sharp intelligence and presence of mind Ramalinga had in solving the toughest problem just like that!
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Tourist places in Jaipur - India: The Complete Guide of Jaipur Tourist Attractions and Information for Foreign Tourists

Jaipur City Tourist Map
Jaipur is the capital of the North Indian state of Rajasthan. It is better known as the Pink City, for the profusion of buildings built in pink stucco, and for the many forts, palaces and heritage structures. Together with Delhi and Agra, Jaipur forms the third angle of the popular Golden triangle circuit.
Not much about Jaipur is known before 1727, but it was that year the city was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh of the Kachwaha dynasty and the capital was moved from Amber to Jaipur. It is considered to be among the first planned cities in the country, with the king following Vastushastra in laying the city containing a network of wide streets and boulevards. Ever since, Jaipur has progressed in leaps and bounds without losing its tradition and heritage, and so attract tourists from all over the world.


Amber Fort and Palace
Amber Fort and Palace
The most stunning edifice in Jaipur is unarguably Amber Fort which also houses a palace. Overlooking the artificial lake, it is massive in size and is the manifestation of the power as well as the patronage the Rajput kings commanded. The style is rather hybrid, incorporating both Hindu and Islamic elements and dates back to Raja Man Singh. It was named after the town of Amber, which was originally the capital of the Kachwaha dynasty, before being shifted to Jaipur. Inside the fort, it is worth spending time at the Sheesh Mahal, so called because it is adorned with an abundance of mirror tiles on the walls and ceiling.
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City Palace and Hawa Mahal
City Palace and Hawa Mahal
It's not difficult to see why this beautiful structure was named thus. It is in fact bang in the centre of the city and is a fabulous juxtaposition of traditional Rajput and Mughal architecture. It is a sprawling complex and comprises many components that are equally stunning and intriguing. There are several courtyards, used for a variety of purposes, surrounded by gardens and buildings. These include the Chandra Mahal, which is the home of the current Jaipur Maharaja, Mubarak Mahal which has been converted into a textile museum, the elaborate Diwan-e-Khas or private hall, which contains two of the world's largest silver vessels and has gained entry into the Guinness Book of World Records, Diwan-e-Aam, which was where the king had his public meetings and many other Lovely structures and gateways. But the most fascinating and wonderful part of the City Palace is the Hawa Mahal or Palace of Breeze, built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799 as an extension of the women's chamber, it has five storey built of red sandstone and has a staggering 950 windows. The idea was to provide a network of windows for the Ladies of the household to view city life out of the window without being seen themselves. However, the palace gets its name from the fact that it has been designed in such a way that air circulates and keeps its cool even in the hot summer months.


Jaigarh Fort
Jaigarh Fort
Standing above the Amber Palace on the hills, Jaigarh Fort is both stunning in itself and offers stunning views of the Aravalli hill range, the Amber Palace and city of Jaipur. Its attractions include underground water-storage tanks, a medieval canon foundry and an impressive collection of medieval cannons, among which is the Jaivana, considered to be the world's largest cannon on wheels. Interestingly, this was called the Amber fort originally but became Jaigarh from the time of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, after the new fort and palace were built.
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Nahargarh Fort

Nahargarh Fort
This is comparatively a small fort, but is known for the panoramic views of Man Sagar lake and the city of Jaipur. Inside is a small palace, called the Madhavendra Bhavan palace. The word nahargarh means "Home of Tigers". Together with other forts it was the defence wall of the City.


Jantar Mantar
Jantar Mantar
Amongst all the monuments in Jaipur nothing is probably as fascinating as Jantar Mantar, which is located close to the City Palace. While the name itself is enough to conjure up images of magic, its function is rather more scientific, but is noteworthy because it was much ahead of its time. Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh between 1727 and 1734, Jantar Mantar is an astronomical observatory, one of the five that the king built. It consists of 14 devices meant for measuring various things such as ascertaining time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars, determine the position of the planets, establish celestial altitudes and such others.



Other places

There are plenty of places to see in Jaipur depending on how much time you spend here. Other places to see include Birla Mandir (white marble temple dedicated to Lord Lakshminarayan), Jalmahal (literally water palace, refers to the lovely Rajput-style palace in the middle of Man Sagar lake), Galtaji (an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site with temples, tanks and religious sites, about 10 km from Jaipur), Albert Hall Museum (main museum in Jaipur), Sanganer, Bagru, Chaksu, Ramgarh, Samode and many such others. 20 km south of the Jaipur is Chowki Dhani, a well-recreated Rajasthani village and everyone's must see place if they happen to pass through the Pink City of Jaipur.


Fairs and festivals

With the color of the desert, the rich tradition and heritage of Rajasthan and the Long history of its people, it is inevitable that people celebrate a host of festivals, both religious and cultural.

Festivals celebrated throughout the country, like Holi, Dussehra, Diwali, Janmashtami, Id and Christmas, takes on added colour in Rajasthan. But the city celebrates some unusual and interesting fairs & festivals as well. These include Elephant festival, Teej, Kite festival and Gangaur festival. Holi gets extra flavor and color with the Elephant Festival in which elephants are bedecked in colorful attire and adorned with lots of festoons and ornaments, making them look regal and majestic.

Kite Festival is celebrated on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, when the skies above Jaipur are populated by kites of all colors, sizes and shapes. It marks the turning of the breeze and is celebrated by both men and women of all ages taking part in flying kites.

In contrast, Gangaur and Teej are essentially celebrated by women. Gangaur which falls about a fortnight after Holi is mainly the worship of Gauri, one of the many manifestations of Parvati.

Teej is also a festival worshipping Parvati, but this is later in the year and swings are set up and decorated with flowers, while women fast, sing devotional songs and seek blessings for the welfare of the family.


Cuisine

Considering that the people of Rajasthan share a martial background, and have had to bear the hostile desert, it is inevitable that their cuisine has evolved in a manner suited to these two conditions. The focus was always on preparing food that could last several days, and so there is a predominance of lentils and breads baked over fire, along with fresh vegetables.

One of the most popular and favorite dishes is the trio of dal baati churma. The baati is like a bread made with coarse and unleavened dough with a variety of stuffings. The churma is a sweet dish made with crushed rotis, ghee and jaggery. But apart from these, dried lentils, beans from indigenous plants like sangri, ker etc. are liberally used. Gram flour or besan is a major ingredient, because of its staying capacity, and is used to make dishes like gatta ki sabzi and pakodi. On the other hand, powdered lentils are used for mangodi, papad, while bajra and corn are used all over the state for preparations of rabdi, khichdi and rotis. Various chutneys are made from locally available spices like turmeric, coriander, mint and garlic. While these are dishes that are common throughout the state, like every other state, each region is distinguished by its popular sweet - Mawa Kachori from Jodhpur, Malpuas from Pushkar, Rasogullasfrom Bikanerand Ghevar from Jaipur.

--> Shopping

In a city as colorful as Jaipur, it is indeed a pleasure to shop. There are vibrant colors everywhere and plenty of markets all over the city. Among the things to shop for here are handicrafts, antiques, jewellery, gems, pottery, carpets, textiles, metalwork and leatherware. And the best place to shop, even if you are not a shopper, are Kishanpol Bazaar, Haldiyon Ka Rasta, Mahiharon Ka Rasta, M.I. Road, Jauhari Bazaar, Bapu Bazaar and Nehru Bazaar which are main shopping places.

Fabric and carpets: There's no better place in the country to shop for fabrics, especially the exquisitely hand embroidered ones, and hand woven carpets. These are best bought at Tripolia Bazaar, Kishanpol bazaar, Bapu or Nehru Bazaar. Not to be missed the famous Jaipur 'rajai' or stuffed quilts which are warm and soft, especially the ones with the velvet finish.

Handicrafts: Jaipur is known as the crafts capital of the country, because its handicrafts are distinctive and exclusive. From the times of the kings, craftsmen and artisans were given royal patronage and hence the traditional forms are visible even today. These could be anything from stone to metal, from wood to papier mache.

Camel leather: Jaipur is famous for its leather craft industry, especially artifacts made of camel leather. They are particularly beautiful here because they are embellished with embroidery and other kinds of ornamentation. Things to look out for include Jutis, Mojaris (slippers). Bags and Sandals. Shoes and Purses made in Jaipur catch the due attention of the tourists.

Jewellery and Gems: Owing to the predominant royal heritage, Rajasthan is famous for its traditional jewellery. And in Rajasthan, Jaipur is always the centre of activity. For centuries, Jaipur has flourished with skilled artisans who have worked with precious stones and jewellery to create exclusive designs and splendid jewellery. Artisans work both in silver and gold and it is a good idea to buy traditional stuff from here.

Few words from Indian Lexicon

English to Hindi

Address
Pata
Answer
Uttar/Jawab
Arrival  
Pahunchna
Baggage
Saamaan
Bathroom Gusatkhana
Directions Dishayen
Festival Tyohar
Fruits   Phal
Mitra/Dost Friend
Gift Uphar/Tohfa
Hungry Bhukha
Hurry Up Jaldi Kara
Price  Mulya/Kimat
Purchase Kharidna
Question Prashna/Sawal
Safe Surakshit
Shop Dukan
Thank You Shukriya/Dhanyavad
Vegetables Sabziyan
Your     Aaapka/Tumhara
Food Khana



General Information
District Area: Jaipur City (Municipal limits 64.75 sq. Km. Pink City 9.8 sq.km)
Altitude: 431 metres above sea level
Climate: Summer- Max. 45.0°C / Min. 25.8°C, Winter- Max. 22.0°C/ Min. 5°C
Best Season: Sept to March
Languages: English, Hindi & Rajasthani

For accommodation facility and any other information visit: www. rajasthantourism.gov. in


Money Changers
Central Bank of India, Sansar Chandra Road
Tel: 2364141

Thomas Cook (INDI) Ltd. MI Road
Tel: 2360940,2360801,2360974

Important Telephone Numbers

Sawai Man Singh Hospital, Tel: 25660291, 2564222
General Post office, Tel 2368740
Passport Office Tel: 2510884
Sanganer Airport Tel: 2721333
Police Control Room Tel: 2565555
Railway General Enquiry Tel: 2204536


Conversational Phrases
At the Airport Hawai adde pe
Where is the exit? Bahar jaane ka rasta?
How far is the hotel? Hotel kitni dur hai?
What is the rent? Kiraya kya hai?
Please call Taxi Ek taxi bulao
Places worth visiting Dekhne layak jagah kya hai?
Want city guide map Shahar ka naksha chahiye
Show me the way Mujhe rasta dikhaiye
Please do booking Booking kar dijeye
Which is the main shopping center? Yahan ka mashhur bazaar kaun sa hai?
I want to send an e-mail Main ek e-mail bhejna chahta hu
It is hot/ cold day Aaj garmi/sardi hai


How to reach
Air: Jaipur airport, located on the outskirts of town, is connected with daily flights from most other metros in the country. It also has a handful of international connections, but these are sporadic at best.

Rail: Jaipur is connected by train to cities across the country, including long distance trains to cities as far away as Kolkata, Lucknow, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kozhikode and Kochi. There are a number of daily trains to Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and cities in Rajasthan. Jaipur has three main stations Jaipur Junction (main station where almost all trains stop), Durgapur and Gandhinagar.

Bus: There are buses to Delhi from Jaipur every 30 minutes. There are also a variety of bus options starting from the ordinary to super deluxe Volvo buses. Jaipur is connected to most other cities in Rajasthan and other cities such as Ahmedabad by bus as well.

Local transport: Autorickshaws, cycle rickshaws and taxis form the major part of the local transport in Jaipur. While cycle rickshaws are fascinating, they take an enormous amount of time. They are best suited for a look-see, but autos are better if you want to get from one place to the other quickly. Pre-paid autos are also available in some places. Taxis are also a good option for comfort as well as if the numbers are bigger. However, in some of the older parts of the city and in the bazaars, there's nothing better to give you a feel of the place than walking.


India Tourism Offices
India
Jaipur, India Tourism: State Hotel Jaipur, Khasa Kothi, Ph: 0141 2372200, Email: indtourjpr@raj.nic.in
New Delhi, Indiatourism: 88 Janpath, New Delhi, Ph: 011- 23320005/8/0342 Email: goitodelhi@nic.in
Chennai, Indiatourism: 154, Anna Salai, Chennai, Ph: 044- 28461459/0285, Email: indtour@dataone.in
Mumbai, Indiatourism: 123 M Karve Road, Opp Churchgate, Mumbai, Ph: 022- 22033144/45 Email: regdir@indtour@gmail.com
Kolkata, Indiatourism, Embassy', 4 Shakespeare Sarani Kolkata, Ph: 033- 22821402/1475 Email: indtour@cal2.vsnl.net.in
Guwahati, Indiatourism: Asom Paryatan Bhawan, 3rd Floor, Near Nepali Bazaar, Guwahati-781008, Assam Phone-0361 -2737554, indtourguwahati@nic.in
Foreign Offices
New York, Indiatourism: 1270, Avenue of Americas, Suite 303, New York 10020 USA.
Phone: +1-212-586-4901/4902 /4903, Fax : +1-212-582-3274, E-mail: rd@itonyc.com, ny@itonyc.com; bidisha@itonyc.com
Los Angeles, Indiatourism: 3550 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 204, Los
Angeles, California 90010 2485 USA.
Phone: +1-213-380-8855 Fax :+1 -213-380-6111,
E-mail: indiatourismla@aol.com; indiatourismla@gmail.com
Toronto, Indiatourism: 60 Bloor Street, West Suite 1003, Toronto, M4 W3, B8,Canada.
Phone : +1-416-962-3787/3788, Fax : +1-416-962-6279,
E-mail: indiatourism@bellnet.ca; director@indiatourismcanada.ca
London, Indiatourism: 7 Cork Street, London WIS 3LH. Phone : +44-207-4373677, 7346613 Fax : +44-207-4941048, E-mail: info@indiatouristoffice.org; jagdish@indiatouristoffice.org
Frankfurt, Indiatourism: Basler Strasse 48, D-60329, Frankfurt, AM-MAIN 1, Federal Republic of Germany.
Phone : + 49-69-2429490, 24294927 Fax : + 49-69-24294977, E-mail: info@india-tourism.com; javed@india-tourism.com; anil@india-tourism.com
Paris, Indiatourism: 11-13, Bis Boulevard Haussmann, F-75009 Psris Frcinc©
Phone : +33-1-4523 3045, 4523 3965 Fax : +33-1-4523 3345 E-mail :indtourpahs@aol.com
Amsterdam, Indiatourism: Rokin 9/15,1012 KK Amsterdam Phone: +31-20-6208991, Fax : +31-20-6383059, Email: info@indiatourismamsterdam.com
Milan, Indiatourism: Via Albricci 9, Milan 20122, Italy.
Phone: +39-02-8053506. Fax : +39-02-72021681,
E-mail: info@indiatourismmilan.com, director@indiatourismmilan.com
Dubai, Indiatourism: Post Box 12856, NASA Building, AL Maktoum Road, Deira.Dubai, UAE.
Phone: +971-4-2274848, 2274199. Fax : +971-4-2274013, E-mail: goirto@emirates.net.ae, goirto@eim.ae
Johannesburg, Indiatourism: RO. Box 412542, Craighall 2024,Hyde Lane, Lancaster Gate, Johannesburg-2000,South Africa. Phone : +27-11-3250880, Fax : +27-11-3250882, E-mail: goito@global.co.za
Sydney, Indiatourism: Level 5, 135 King Street, Glasshouse Shopping
Complex, Sydney, NSW 2000
Tel: + 61 2 9221 9555, Fax: + 61 2 9221 9777
E-mail: info@indiatourism.com.au, krishna.arya@indiatourism.com.au, gajendra@indiatourism.com.au
Singapore, Indiatourism: 20, Kramat Lane, # 01-01 United House, Singapore 228773.
Phone : +65-6235-3800, Fax : +65-6235-8677
E-mail: info@indiatourism.com.sg, rajeshtalwar@indiatourism.com.sg
Tokyo, Indiatourism: Isei Bldg. 7F/8F, 1-8-17, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan.
Tel: +81-3-3561-0651/2, Voice Guide: +81-3-3561-0653/4 Fax: +81-3-3561-0655 E-mail: indtourt@smile.ocn.ne.jp, rdtokyoindiatourism@coast.ocn.ne.jp
Beijing, Indiatourism: Unit 3 & 5, 29th Floor, East Tower, Twin Towers, B-12, Jianguomenwai Avenue, Chaoyang District, Beijing-100022 (China) Tel : 0086-10-6568 6294 Fax : 0086-10-6568 8594 E-mail: beijing@indiatourism.org.cn, indiatourism.beijing@gmail.com


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Does Man Really Need God? - By Swami Vivekananda


What an incalculable number of things modern man needs! One has only to go to a big department store to be convinced about this. And yet there we get only a fractional idea of the total requirements of man. Man has his basic needs, such as food, clothes, shelter, etc. He has his conventional needs, which are no less required because they are conven­tional. Then man has his luxury needs, his imaginary needs and his needless needs also.

But then, who are we to say that any par­ticular need of man is imaginary or needless? If we are allowed to say that, life may indeed become needlessly difficult. If a person needs a particular thing, however meaningless it may seem to others, he must have a reason for needing it. Whether or not that cause is reasonable is another matter. Again, 'reasonable' according to whom?

Man does not need anything which he does not need. And he gradually outgrows his 'needless' needs, if there are any.

Even if we ourselves are not aware of the cause of needing a particular thing, there are always the manufactures' agents to tell us with the nicest of rehearsed smiles (on the TV) that we need more and more of their product, of course, if we are to be accepted as truly modern, dynamic and cultivated. In economically advanced countries, today it is no longer a question of every family needing one or two cars, but of needing to change the models of their cars every now and then. We not only require clothes but we require to keep up with the changing fashions in clothes. We not only require ornaments, but the latest new designs in ornaments. We not only need an ever-increasing number of things, but the newest in things.

The 'free economy' in a democracy is euphemistically said to depend on spending more. But what does spending more actually mean? It means buying more. What does buy­ing more mean? It means a desire for more and more; in other words, turning to be slaves of those desires so that continuity of demand is kept up. In order to create an illusion of cir­cumventing the economic law of diminishing returns from the continuous supply of things, the patterns of things are changed. Thus money is kept rolling and the wheels of in­dustry moving. Getting at the root of this system of economy, we find, in the ultimate analysis, that it depends on making us want; that is to say, it depends largely on creating artificial needs.

In a society where artificial needs are constantly created, one cannot easily have an idea of how little a man really needs to live a contented life even of the noblest type. After the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, it was found that his personal possessions were on­ly his spinning wheel, a few pieces of home­spun cloth, a few books, two pairs of slippers—one wooden and the other leather, a walking stick, his spectacles, a pen, a writing desk, a cup and a spoon, a watch and a rosary and the tell-tale 'Three Monkeys'. It is a real education to know how little one actually needs.

It is not always we who decide what we need. Somebody else tells us that. And it can become a terrible bondage. In a 'free economy', the manufacturer tells us what we need and cajoles us into thinking that we need it. In what is called an 'authoritarian economy', the state tells us what we need; and we just have to take it. We may need more bread and butter. But the state tells us, 'No, you need more steel'. And we are forced to agree.

As we all know, besides his physical needs, man has needs of other dimensions as well. He has emotional needs, social needs, and in­tellectual needs too. In fact, an exhaustive list of man's needs would be a staggering one.


RIGHTS OF MAN
Sometimes we don't realize the value of the fruits of civilization which come to us in the normal course, because we do not remember the great price our forebears had to pay for these.

We live in an age of unprecedented acknowledgement of various human needs. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations has endorsed the right of man to have a variety of things irrespective of nationality or color. Of course, though acknowledged by the collective conscience of the world, man's needs are not yet everywhere granted. Even today there are places in the world where a section of people think that it has a greater right to more and better things than other sections. The days are, however, gone when it could be said with impunity, with a gun, that you have no right to live. Today we acknowledge not only man's right to life but also his right to his needs.

But in these days of universal acknowledge­ment of human needs, the greatest need of man—man's spiritual need—appears to be less and less acknowledged. Man's need for God is coming to have less and less emphasis in the minds of men. Perhaps a third of humani­ty, at a very conservative estimate, is atheistic. Of the other two-thirds, perhaps one-third is indifferent to religion, though not declaring themselves irreligious. Only about one-third of humanity may care to declare itself religious in some way or other. This classification of humanity is not made on the basis of statistics, but on the general impression one receives from a study of the world today.

HE SECRET OF GOOD CONDUCT
There is an ever-growing number of good men in this world who do not call themselves communists or atheists but who prefer the laboratory to the altar, the reactor to the tem­ple, altruism to meditation, technology to theology, statistics to Japam or other spiritual practices. They believe in the need for an ethical life, but they do not feel called upon to acknowledge the need for God on that ac­count. They even stand for a sort of morality, but reject the need for spirituality. They say: what we really need in our personal and social life is good conduct; but to be good, we do not require the policing by a God whose ex­istence has not been proved. The pursuit of God is like going after a will-o'-the wisp and creates difficulties in practical life.

These good men want a good society, of course. And they believe that good conduct is the only basis of a good society. Hence God is superfluous.

The question naturally arises: What exact­ly is good conduct? In general it consists of performing one's duties with conscientious detachment, not harming others, and in cultivating equanimity in the varying and con­flicting situations of life.

Now. what will sustain a person in good conduct? What will be the motive power behind his good conduct? what will lead him to the still higher goal of detachment? What will resolve doubts and conflicts? What will be the rationale of being good? Can one be good for selfish reasons? In times of crisis, in the face of temptation, when one's rights are challenged, what will make a person stick to the canons of morality and ethics?

Nothing. Nothing but the felt need for God can keep us rooted in good conduct and all its requirements, at all times and under all cir­cumstances. This is the verdict of our scrip­tures and saints. Sri Krishna teaches in the Gita:

The objects of the senses fall away from a man prac­tising abstinence, but not the taste thereof, but even the taste falls away when the Supreme is seen.1

Even the man practising austerity retains a taste for the objects of the senses; that is to say, he may slip back to attachment under pro­vocation. Only the pull of God gradually weans him away. He is safe only after he has seen God and all his desires have been burnt up.

Now, one who has not even felt the need for God, what will be the guarantee of his con­tinued goodness? None at all. At the slightest stress or strain his resolve of good conduct may break down, making him a victim of his lower impulses, and to that extent endanger­ing society and engendering in it the move­ment of evil forces. Therefore, Tiruvalluvar, an ancient saint and lawgiver of India, said:

Hold fast to the Lord. Keep that supreme attachment intact, so that you may be released from other at­tachments that bind the soul.2

Nammalwar, another Indian saint, said:

If attachment has left, salvation has been reached in­deed. And if that detachment is to be fixed unalterably, and attachment has to be wiped out completely, sur­render yourself to God.3

Those who seek to be good and build up a good society will find, if they think out ful­ly the practical and theoretical implications of their ideal, that they cannot rationally reject God. Let it not be thought, however, that in saying this we hold that the need for God is only as a good material for making a good society, a sort of sacred cement.

SUBSTITUTES FOR RELIGION DO THEY EXIST?
In fact, the ultimate purpose of good socie­ty is to provide man with opportunities for at­taining self-fulfillment, which, in the final analysis, he can achieve only through needing and finding God. This of course is a religious point of view and it is being constantly challenged in modern times. Quite a few substitutes for religion are in the field and claiming the allegiance of the uncommitted educated men and women of the world, who are 'victims of unwilling disbelief caused by scientific materialism.

As man cannot live and grow in the yawn­ing chasm of a total negation of faith or reason for living, these relinquishers of traditional faiths are seeking refuge in different brands of 'isms'.

Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, in his book, Recovery of Faith catalogues these substitutes for religion thus: Sub-humanism, Paganism, Humanism, Nationalism, Communism, Authoritarianism.

With a masterly analysis of all these substitutes for religion, he shows that none of these offers a full and adequate answer to the problems of living. Apart from the problems of living, deep in man's soul there are higher aspirations too, which these substitutes do not even seem to be aware of!

RELIGION, THE LINK BETWEEN MAN AND GOD
Religion is supposed to provide the link bet­ween man and God. But when religion emphasizes norm and form, creed and dogma, conformity and conduct more than God and the love for Him, then religion itself comes to stand between man and God.

Very few, even among those who would pas­sionately declare themselves to be religious, do really seek God for His sake alone. Most of the religious adopt a religion, either for the respectability attached to it, or for the solace and comfort it may bring. It is like a feather in the cap, not a flame in the head, much less an agony in the soul. Only a handful among the religious do really yearn for God, and cry for His vision.

In one place in the Gospel, describing the nature of the worldly-minded religious peo­ple, Sri Ramakrishna says that when they go to a place of pilgrimage, instead of straightaway going to the shrine to offer prayers, they go on giving alms, to make them feel good, or to be seen doing good. Nobody says that they should not be charitable but it should be done only after the primary object of offering prayer.

In another place says Sri Ramakrishna:

The universe is God's glory. People see this glory and forget everything. They do not seek God whose glory is this world. All seek to enjoy 'woman and gold'.

Even religiosity, which may have various forms, need not necessarily be an expression of true spirituality.

There is a story about Guru Govind Singh, the great spiritual leader of the Sikhs, and a rich disciple!

Guru Govind Singh was once sitting on the banks of the Jamuna saying his prayers. It was evening. Raghunath. a rich disciple, came and bowed down say­ing: 'Sir, pray, accept this trifling present in token of my love.' So saying, he laid at the feet of the Master two gold bracelets, inlaid with rare gems. The Guru accepted the ornaments, and as if to display his pleasure, he began to play with one of the bracelets, tossing it into the air and catching it in his palm. Sud­denly he let one bracelet slip and fall into the river.

Raghunath, the disciple, took it to be a sad accident. He jumped into the river to recover it. He continued to search for it while the teacher all the while remained absorbed in meditation. Late in the evening Raghunath returned from his futile search with down-cast eyes. He said: 'Master, I am sorry, I have failed to find the jewel so far, but I can possibly still get it if you will only point out the exact spot where it fell.'

Knowing as he did all that passed in the mind of his disciple, the Guru took the other bracelet and threw that too in the river saying 'Raghunath it was just there'.

Raghunath stood stunned and bewildered at this deliberate act of the teacher. He was unable to divine the Master's meaning in casting away the second Knowing as he did all that passed in the mind of his disciple, the Guru took the other bracelet and threw that too in the river saying 'Raghunath it was just there'.

Raghunath stood stunned and bewildered at this deliberate act of the teacher. He was unable to divine the Master's meaning in casting away the second

With great tenacity and determined applica­tion we keep up such screens of separation bet­ween ourselves and God!

It is possible that through many years of our life we may go about as religious, without making any spiritual progress, always staying as distant from God as ever. When we cling to religion as an ornament or an embellish­ment, a certificate of an appendage, or a show, God stays away from us for the simple reason that we do not yet need Him. When we do need Him. even the veil of religiosity is torn asunder. And then we pine for God as one whose head is set aflame seeks a lake to plunge into.

GOD IS MAN'S ULTIMATE NEED
Religion is psychological necessity of man. This is today fortunately acknowledged by a section of psychologists following the leader­ship of Dr. Jung, who, in his famous book, Modern Man in Search of a Soul, declared:

Among all my patients in the second half of life, that is to say, over thirty-five years, there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of fin­ding a religious outlook on life.

It is good that today some psychologists acknowledge that religion is a psychological necessity of man. But it is not yet widely ad­mitted that God is the elemental need and con­stitutional necessity of man. Because God is man's elemental need, religion has become man's psychological necessity.

What exactly is meant by saying that religion or God is a necessity or elemental need? Look at a tree. It requires sunshine, air and water to reach the fulfillment of its life as a tree. Sun­shine, air and water are its elemental needs. Whether these needs are supplied in natural surroundings or artificially is another matter. But these needs are elemental.

In like manner, if man is to reach the fulfillment of his life, man must need God. Without God there is no fulfillment of life. And what is called fulfillment of life is God Himself. God is the means and God is the end too. "I am the way,. the truth and the life"8 said Christ. God is ttian's need because without holding on to God man cannot proceed a step towards the fulfillment of his life.

What is meant by the fulfillment of human life? It is that state of being in which man realizes his essential nature and through that realization, goes beyond all the bondages of life, its carvings and limitations.

If we analyze the innumerable desires that arise clamorously in human minds, we can reduce them to three fundamental ones:

1. Man does not want to die—he wants to be immortal.
2. Man wants to rise above all ignorance and know everything—that is, he wants to be omniscient.
3. Man wants to go beyond all miseries—that is, he wants to be eternally blissful.

Are not these desires fantastic? From the empirical standpoint, 'Yes'; from the absolute standpoint, 'no'.

Man, if he is only a psychophysical organism, conditioned by space, time and causality, can never become immortal, omnis­cient and ever-blissful. But as our scriptures say, this psychophysicalorganism which we know as man is only a temporary vesture put on by something inscrutable in man, called At-man. The very nature of this Atman is Sat-Chit-Ananda, existence-knowledge-bliss ab­solute. Therefore, from the absolute stand-point, these fantastic desires of man are natural ones, which are fulfilled only when man realizes Atman and finds he is It. Thus it is that man needs God; God is man's elemental necessity.

In this explanation no mention has been made of God. What is the relation of God, about whom we previously spoke, and Atman?

As Swami Vivekananda puts it:
If conformity is the law of the universe, every part of universe must have been built on the same plan as the whole. So we naturally think that behind the gross material form which we call this universe of ours, there must be a universe of finer matter, which we call thought and behind that there must be soul, which makes all this thought possible, which commands, which is the enthroned king of the universe. That soul which is behind each mind and each body is called 'Pratyagatman', the individual Atman, and that soul which is behind the universe as its guide, ruler and governor, is God.'

WHY GOD IS MAN'S ULTIMATE NEED?
'How is it then', the question may be asked, 'if God is such an elemental necessity of man, that the majority of human beings can remain completely unaware of this fact?'

First, let us understand this clearly, that unawareness of this need does not disprove the need itself. Ignorance of a truth does not nullify the truth. It is a fact that the majority of human beings are not aware that they need God. Yet this is the highest truth about man. There are two reasons why man remains oblivious of the greatest need of his life. The first reason is that the Upadhis obscure our vision. The second is that the Vibhutis pre­vent our spiritual progress and keep us bound to matter. What are the Upadhis? And what are the Vibhutis?

According to Vedanta, man is essentially At-man, the principle of Divine Consciousness, which is non-different from the Ultimate Reality known as Brahman.

Even so due to the influence of Maya or nes­cience, man gets identified with his psychophysical organism. All the extraneous adjuncts of the Atman, such as body and mind, and whatever attachments man develops relating to his worldly pursuits, his family relations, academic career, position in socie­ty, economic status—all these are man's Upadhis. Lost in their trap of attractions and aversions man forgets his real nature. And this makes it possible for him not to feel the need for God.

Vibhutis, generally speaking, are the powers that come to us on the way when we are trying to realize the Truth. These powers may be psychic or material. They are like toys with which we are diverted. If we allow ourselves to be fascinated by these little powers and busy ourselves with them, then our spiritual pro­gress is stopped. We do not then feel the need for God.

When the mother wants time, she puts a toy in the baby's hand. The baby is happy with the toy, plays with it, and completely forgets the mother for a little while. But suddenly it remembers the mother, throws away the toy and begins to cry. When the baby has succeed­ed through its crying in making its need known to the mother, she comes away from her book of science-fiction, TV, or cooking and takes the baby in her arms.

Science has put so many Vibhutis of the material kind in our hands and we are fascinated by them as a child by toys. Whether we crawl on the ground as tots, or compete for world leadership with a big show of our brain and muscle, we are in both cases only playing with toys. How then can we feel the need for God?

Every one of us will have to go through our own experiences in order to find the hollowness of the Upadhis and the danger of the Vibhutis. Not until then will our spiritual consciousness awaken which will make us feel the need for God. That is to say, there is a time factor involved in every single person's feel­ing the need for God. One may feel the need at a tender age, whereas another may never feel the need at all in his life. Outwardly a man may appear to be a very religious person; in­wardly he may be far away from feeling the need for God. Again, a criminal suffering his term in jail may be pining for God. We just don't know, unless we are seers, how inward­ly ripe a man is for feeling the need for God. And if we are not seers we cannot do anything much by way of lectures or admonition to make another person feel the need for God. This feeling of the necessity for God cannot be imposed.

Is there nothing, then, to be done about it? Nothing, except to spread the message of religion to mankind as a whole, perhaps a shaft of this message will pierce a soul here and a soul there and agonize his whole being with a hunger for God. When thus ready, a slight stimulus coming from outside will awaken such souls.

One is reminded of the story of the Buddha and Brahma Sahampati. After the attainment of illumination, the Buddha remained in solitude for forty-nine days in the bliss of emancipation. At first he was not enthusiastic about preaching his doctrine. He thought that worldly people would not understand him and so he decided not to preach. Alarmed at his decision, Brahma Sahampati, it is said, descended from heaven and after worshipp­ing the Buddha urged him to give his message

There are some beings that are almost pure from the dust of worldlines. If they hear not the doctrine preach­ed, they will be lost. But if they hear it, they will believe, and be saved.10

But it is good to remember that we are not Buddhas. For us the main question is not how much hunger our wife or husband, son or daughter, friend or neighbour, feels for God. Our first question should be a poignantly per­sonal one: 'Do I myself at all feel the need for God?' We should ask this question of ourselves, leaving aside all our pretensions. We should ask the question of ourselves in the soft hours of the morning and in the deep hours of the night. We should ask this ques­tion of ourselves when we are at the height of life's prosperity and also when we face adversity.

LOOK NOT AT THE GIFT, TURN TO THE GIVER
A woman devotee told the Holy Mother about her misunderstanding with a friend. At this the Mother replied:

If you love any human being you will suffer for it. He is blessed, indeed, who can love God alone. There is no suffering in loving God.

Perhaps some of us already know from experience the burning truth of this saying. Yet we may very well ask anxiously, 'Should we then not love our dear ones, our husbands and wives, our children and friends?' Nobody says we should not. The implication of the Holy Mother's words would appear to be: love everyone, but love the God in everyone. Let us love everyone for the sake of God, then we shall not suffer. But if we reject God and then go on loving those psychophysical organisms which are not Atman, but only shadows of Atman, then there is going to be no end to our suffering. Alas! in this world how much suffering is being undergone in the name of love, which could be productive of bliss! If men only knew how to turn all their love into good account first, they would feel the need for God in their souls. Was it not for this that Christ said:

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

Sri Radha, the gopi who worshipped Krishna in the attitude of the sweetheart, said: 'Krishna is a mere word of mouthwith many, but He is the very agony of my soul.' God must not be only a sound to be uttered, but the very flame of our heart. When that divine agony smoulders in a soul, when a man really needs God, he becomes a changed man. He becomes a fool for the sake of God. The values of the world become useless for him. The aspirations of this world appear futile to him. The delights of this world are like ashes in his mouth. His language, his looks, his deportment, his movements, his anxieties—his everything becomes dif­ferent. He is expectant every moment, yet he is sterile. He hopes, yet he despairs. He is disgusted with life, finding it useless without God, yet he has a furtive love of life, for in any moment of life could He not come? His ears are athirst to hear, his eyes are winkless to see the great Coming.

Feeling such need for God, Mira, the great Indian mystic, sang her heartrending Song

Beloved!
I wander still
In quest of Thee!
I am athirst
For Thy eternal love!
I long to make
My body a lamp—
The wick whereof will be
My tender heart
And I would fill the lamp
With the scented oil
Of my love for Thee!



Then let it burn
Day and night
At thy shrine,
Beloved!
I can no longer bear.
To be away from Thee.
Make me Thine own!
Make me like Thee! And make me pure
As Thou art pure
Beloved!



Moved by the same need for God in the form of the Divine Mother, Ramprasad, another mystic of India, once sang power­fully expressing the feeling of what one actually goes through when one intensely thirsts for God. His song, even in transla­tion, conveys to us the fire of his soul:


What is the use of this body, brother, If it is not spent in the love of Mother Divine?
Fie upon this tongue
If it does not repeat the name of Kali,
Sinful do I call these eyes
Which do not seek the vision of Mother Divine.



That mind is surely wicked
Which has not surrendered itself at
Mother's feet.
Thunder may befall that ear
Which on hearing the sweet name of the Mother



Does not make one weep.
What is the use of these hands
Which only gorge the belly
But do not bring offerings for worship?
Useless are these legs, toiling in vain
If they do not happily carry one
To the place where the Mother is Worshiped.


Completely overtaken by the same need for God, Sri Ramakrishna not only forgot all his own physical needs, but, as the evening would come, in an agony of soul which we just cannot understand, he would rub his face on the ground causing it to bleed, and weep. 'O Mother, another day has passed and still I have not realized Thee!

With this same need for God, St. Catherine of Genoa cried:

I wish not for anything that comes forth from Thee, but only for Thee, O Sweetest Love!"

Under the impact of the awareness of such an elemental need, Rabia said:

Whatever share of this world Thou dost bestow on me, bestow it on Thine enemies. And whatever share of the next world Thou dost give me, give it to Thy friends

Then how sweetly she said: 'Thou art enough for me."

Plotinus, in the same state says: "The soul longs to get 'amputed' of everything else with which it is surrendered."

Jalaluddin Rumi, the Persian mystic, in this state of mind said: "He (the seeker) looks not at the gift, but above all goods turns himself to the Giver." Such examples from the lives of the mystics of East and West amply prove this one great fact, that when one really feels the need for God, one's whole being becomes a single flame leaping Godward. Even to remember such souls is really an act of purification. We should always pray to the Lord that in His infinite mercy He may so direct our mind and intellect that we may understand that we need Him, and need Him above everything else, in the midst of everything else, in spite of everything else, and besides everything else in the world; and that we may be given that agony and energy of heart to yearn for Him in such a manner that today or tomorrow, months or years afterwards, at least at the last moments of our life, we may see Him face to face within and without, and be blessed.

- By  Swami Vivekananda


Also See:

Brief History of Swamy Vivekananda, Sayings and Quotes of Swami Vivekananda in English and Telugu with Images http://www.spoonfeeding.in/2012/01/brief-history-of-swamy-vivekananda.html

What is Real Personality by Swami Vivekananda
http://www.spoonfeeding.in/2012/05/what-is-real-personality-by-swami.html

Swami Vivekananda Inspire Wallpapers Download
http://www.spoonfeeding.in/2012/04/swami-vivekananda-inspire-wallpapers.html

Secret of Concentration by Swami Vivekananda and 10 Tips to improve your concentration

http://www.spoonfeeding.in/2012/03/secret-of-concentration-by-swami.html
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Tourist Attractions in Agra - India: The Complete Guide of Agra Visiting Places and Foreign Tourists Information

Agra City map

The splendour of Agra- the capital of India under the mighty Mughals- still remains undiminished after 500 years. A minor administrative unit saw its transformation to a world renowned city with the coming of Mughals, Centered around the timeless creation, Taj Mahal, the city of Agra remains unparalled in history. The epic 'Mahabharata' refers to Agra as Agarbana' a vital part of Braj Bhumi. In recent history, the town came into its own under the soverignity of Raja Badam Singh. And in spotlight, with the arrival of Sikandra Lodhi, who made it his capital. The golden age of Agra Pegan in 1526 A.D, and the following centuries saw the rise of Mughal monarchy, with emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan, bestowing their time and wealth to transform Agra into to a centre of art, culture, learning and commerce.

What to see Excursions
Taj Mahal - The Master Piece
Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is regarded as one of the eight wonders of the world. Built entirely of white marble it has been described as a Poem in Marble'. Its stunning architectural beauty is beyond adequate description.

Today, it stands in all its majesty to gently tell us about Shah Jahan's immortal story of love. Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal.

The construction of the Taj started in 1631 and was completed in 1653. The construction documents show that its master architect was Ustad Isa Khan, the renowned Islamic architect of his time. As many as 20,000 gifted workers from India and Central Asia were brought to produce the exquisite marble screens and pietra dura-marble with inlay work to bring about this ‘labor of love'. Expert craftsmen from Delhi, Kannauj, Lahore, and Multan were employed. In addition, many renowned craftsmen from Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara worked on many specialized tasks.

The Taj stands on a raised, square platform with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon, Its striking central dome is surrounded by smaller domes and its arches are embellished with scriptures from the Holy Quran. Inside finely cut marble screens inlaid with some 43 different types of precious stones shield the two subterranean vaults housing the tombs of Mumtaz Mahal & Shah Jahan that lie side by side, as Shah Jahan was finally buried here beside his beloved wife.


Agra Fort

Agra Fort
Emperor Akbar started constructing this massive fort on the banks of river Yamuna in 1565. Additions were made to it by his grandson Shah Jahan. The huge walls of the fort stretch for 2.5 km and are surrounded by a 10 m wide moat. Out of the three gates, only Amar Singh gate is open now. The fort is open from sunrise to sunset. The forbidding exteriors of this fort hide an inner paradise.

There are number of exquisite buildings like-
Diwan-e-Am - This hall of public hearing is the place where the Emperor heard the petitions of the public and met the officials.

Diwan-e-Khas -
This was the hall of private audience.

Octagonal Tower -
It was here that Shah Jahan spent last seven years of this life imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb.

Moti Masjid - Made out of white marble, it is one of the ancient mosques situated in Agra

Sheesh Mahal -
It is a creation of myriad glass pieces and central fountain.

Jahangiri Mahal -
It was built by Akbar as women's Quarters.

Jehangir Palace - This was built by Akbar for his favorite son Jehangir to provide him with the comfort and luxury inside.

Mina Masjid - It is enclosed on all the four sides by high walls. The marble mosque has three small arches in its facade, which are plain and unadorned.

Machhi Bhawan - Opposite to the Diwan-E-Khas is the machhi bhawan, the fish enclosure.

Anguri Bagh - These 85 square geometric gardens lie to the left of the fort.



Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid, the sacred section of the Fatehpur Sikri. Built in 1572 AD, this is one of the largest mosques of India. It is also known as Darrgah Mosgue. It draws upon both Persian & Hindu design and is said to be a copy of the mosgue at Mecca.


Mariyam's Tomb

Mariyam's Tomb
The unique tomb in red sand stone was built in 1611 A.D. in memory of Emperor Akbar's Goan Christian wife Mariyam.


Itmad-ud-daulah
Itmad-ud-daulah
This exquisite marble tomb was-j made by Emperor Jehangiri's queen, Nurjehan, for her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg during 1622- 1628 A.D. The craftsmanship at Itmad-ud-daula foreshadows that of the Tajamahal


Akbar's Mausoleum
Akbar's Mausoleum
The sandstone-and-marble tomb of Akbar lies in the middle of a garden at Sikandra, 4 km from Agra. Akbar inaugurated the construction himself and created a synthesis of Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain & Christian motifs and styles. His son, Jehangir, completed the mausoleum. It features three storey minarets at each corner and is built of red sandstone inlaid with white marble abstract patterns.

Sikandra takes its name from Sikander Lodi, the Sultan of Delhi during 1488-1517.

He built the Baradi Palace in the mausoleum garden.
Fatehpuri Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri
Like the cactus flower that for a moment adorns the desert, so was the town of Fatehpur Sikri, having c brief span of glory. It was abandoned only after 15 years of its construction, due to scarcity of water in the town. This magnificent town was once the capital of Mughal Empire. Here, the beautiful marble tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisthi attracts thousands of people who seek blessing of the reverend saint.


Chini Ka Rauza


Chini Ka Rauza
Reputed to be an Afzal Khan creation, a high official in the court of Shahjahan, Chini Ka Rauza is decorated by glazed files on the facade. It depicts the Persian influence on Mughal architecture.


Ram Bagh

Ram Bagh
Laid out in 1528 by Babar, this is the earliest Mughat garden. If is said that Babar was temporarily buried here before being permanently interred at Kabul in Afghanistan.


Mathura City

Mathura
An ancient city which dates back to 1500 BC, Mathura is credited to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna, making it a sanctified land, a popular destination for pilgrims.


Vrindavan City

Vrindavan
Just 10 kms away from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, the nucleus of Brajbhoomi, is Located north-west of Agra.



Fairs and Festivals
Tajmahotsav: A festival of art, craft, culture and celebrations, organized by U.P Tourism, is held every year between 18th to 27th Feb.

Kailash fair (Aug/Sept) - Held at Kailash it's a major fair celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva who is believed to have appeared here in the form of a stone lingam.

Sheetala fair (July/Aug) - It is held near Delhi Gate.

Bateshwar Fair - This festival is held annually during the month of November at Bateshwar, 65 kms from Agra.

Urs (Fatehpur Sikri) - This fair is organized at Sheikh Salim Chisthi's Dargah, during the month of Ramzan.



Shopping
Handicrafts - Agra is known for its fabulous handicrafts, made of marble and soft stone inlay work. Besides inlay work other handicrafts are: leather ware, brassware, carpets, jewellery and embroidery work.

Leather Items - Agra is the hub of hand made leather items.

Main shopping areas - Sadar Bazar, Kinari Bazar, Raja-ki-Mandi, Sanjay Place and the Taj Mahal Complex. Shopping is recommended at the Govt. Emporia or Souvenir Shops approved by Uttar Pradesh Tourism.


Tourist Information Center:


India Tourism
191, The Mall Agra, 282001
Telephone: 0562-2226378

U.P Tourist Office, 64 Taj Road,
Tel: 2226431

U.P.Govt Tourist Information Counter,
Agra Cantt. Railway Station
Tel: 2368698


Money Changers

State Bank of India
Tel: 2364365

Bank of Baroda,
Tel: 2364362

Andhra Bank
Tel: 2225036


How to reach


In terms of connectivity, the is destination are well defined by all means of transport be it Air, Rail or Road.

Air - Agra's Kheria Airport 7 kms from town connects Agra with Delhi, Khajuraho and Varanasi.

Rail - Agra is connected by rail with major cities. Shatabdi and Taj Express and Intercity express link Agra to Delhi. The palace also visits Agra city on wheels.

Road - National highway Nos, 2, 3 and 11 pass through Agra and link it to all parts of the country. Distance: Delhi 204 kms, Jaipur 237 kms, Khajuraho 395 kms, Mathura 54 kms, Gwalior 110 kms, Lucknow 35 7 kms, Bharatpur 54 kms, Varanasi 605 kms.


General Information:

Temperature
Summer 45.0o C 21.9oC
Winter 31.7oC 4.2oC

Clothing
Cottons, Woolens

Language Spoken
English, Hindi
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